There were lots of great comments and suggestions in response to this client's plea for advice -- plus I included her response and "hindsight" take on what she should have done (and will do next time). What would you do? Keep adding anything useful so everyone can learn.
Okay, so I'm a small, professional, well-established graphic and web design studio and I'm working on a web site project for a local manufacturing company. This is my third site for them - their first site five years ago, their sister company's site two years ago, and now an update to the first site. They obviously like my work and for the most part, I know their personalities and ways of working.
So I thought...
This project has become a dragged out, almost full circle, tweak-fest. And we're still on the home page design! My mistake from the beginning was to allow more than three people on their committee (I did so because we've worked together so much). The second problem is a problematic member of their committee who wasn't part of our previous projects. He is blatantly opinionated, usually off base with his design and marketing ideas, and for the most part is the cause of the project delay.
Yesterday's meeting was the ultimate when he not only crudely criticized the project, but also criticized the work in my portfolio and me personally. I immediately and politely called him out on this and then got right back to the meeting. The rest of the committee later emailed apologies for his behavior (although they did nothing to stop it at the time). Good thing designers have a thick skin, yes?
I responded to the committee's apology with a very light-hearted "Don't worry about it, this is part of the business" email. I did not address our wayward project management. I chose not to because I wanted to maintain a dignified position regarding the apology and not in any way lower myself to what might appear to be a counter-attack. Yet, the project management is something that definitely needs to be addressed. As a professional, I'm not doing my job if I allow things to continue as is.
My question is this (for directors and project managers especially): What should I do? Email the decision-maker? Talk to the whole committee? I'm open to all opinions.